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Brown Football Set to Host Bryant in Season Opener

Thursday, September 17, 2015

 

Brian Strachan

The Brown Bears football team opens up their 2015-16 season on Saturday, September 19th, at 12:30 p.m. when they host the Bryant Bulldogs at Brown Stadium.

Bryant comes in after a week one victory over American International and are the preseason pick to win the NEC Conference.

"I think they are a very committed program, athletics means a lot to them at Bryant, look at their facilities. I think Coach Fine is an excellent football coach, they have given him the facilities, and I think he has done a good job recruiting as well," said Brown football head coach Phil Estes.

2015 Brown Bears

Last season, Brown went 5-5 overall and 3-4 in Ivy League play, ending the season with a 41-7 win over Columbia at home.

"Last year we were basically trying to replace 11 starters on offense and 8 on defense. We had some growing pains in the first game, got better in the second game. We were a work in progress. This year we are trying to figure out what we have as a team," Estes said.

Offense

What Brown has is senior quarterback, Marcus Fuller, who last season ranked 14th in the nation with 262 passing yards per game and currently ranks eighth all-time at Brown with 2,623 passing yards.

"Marcus Fuller has made great improvement from last year. He now has some experience under his belt, a little more confidence. I think he understands the offense a little better, and he has a lot of assets to work with, including three very good options at the wide receiver position. 

One of those options is senior receiver, Brian Strachan, who comes into this season after making a team leading 56 catches for 668 yards in 2014. Strachan also led Brown with 14 touchdown catches.

The second of the three options is senior, Troy Doles, who comes into 2015 after hauling in 26 catches for 460 yards in 2014. Doles averaged 66 receiving yards per game which ranked second best on the team.

Fuller's third option is junior, Alexander Jette. In 2014, Jette caught 26 passes for a total of 391 yards, third best on the team. Jette caught three touchdown passes last season. 

Defense 

Head coach Phil Estes, photo courtesy of brown bears.com

Brown's defense is coming off of a season in which they allowed 23 points and 371 yards per game, 240 of those yards coming through the air. 

This season the Bears come in with a young secondary that will get better with experience as the season goes on. 

"I think our back end is inexperienced, we had to move some people around. I think we have guys in the right position, its just going to be a matter of getting them experience. Practice is great but games are a lot faster and we have to get guys to be able to slow the game down," Estes said.

Brown's defense will be led by linebacker, Chad Berry, who last season was second on the team with five tackles for a loss of 22 yards and three sacks. Berry received All-Ivy honorable mention at season's end. 

Another leader on the Brown defense will be senior defensive lineman, Zach Sparber. In 2014, Sparber led Brown defensive linemen with 38 tackles and four tackles for losses. Sparber was named second team All-Ivy at the end of the season. 

Expect Brown's defense to get better as the season goes along. 

Growing Rivalry

Bryant and Brown will meet for only the second time ever on Saturday. The last meeting came two years ago when the Bears prevailed 41-14 in Smithfield.

Both teams come into this game in a different place then the last time they met. 

Talking about Bryant's place in Rhode Island college football, Estes said "this is Bryant's chance to establish themselves as the best division I program in the state. You know we play URI every year for the Governor's Cup, there is a trophy for that. Bryant is kind of saying "hey don't forget about us."

Click here for tickets

 

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